After giving LFRV a whole-hearted and motivated go for two weeks, I felt I needed extra guidance to ensure that my healing path was on the correct course. After pouring over nearly every publication on the LFRV lifestyle, as well as picking the brains of forum members from 30BaD, there was just too much conflicting information that make me feel secure in what I was doing. Despite the fact that I was already experiencing a disappearance of many of the nagging and debilitating health concerns that have been plaguing me for quite some time, the digestive issues were getting worse, and I could not differentiate if these were from the transition of the Anti-Candida Diet to the LFRV diet, a detox/healing reaction, or sensitivities/reactions to certain fruits (bananas?).
Thus, it was time to call in the expert: Dr. David Klein, PhD and Natural Hygiene doctor, author of Self Healing Colitis & Crohn's (4th ed), and healer-extraordinaire to thousands (including himself) suffering from varying degrees of digestive dis-eases.
His book should literally be the Bible for all those dealing with any sort of health concern, especially those with digestive complaints (and who of us have not experienced some spectrum of GI upset? It is well-known that all dis-ease begins in the gut, even if one does not experience symptoms of digestive ills). I felt like he wrote this book especially about me, for I felt like I read about myself in every page. In fact, most pages are nearly completely yellow with highlighting----that's how poignant each word is! Check out the book here: http://www.colitis-crohns.com/book.html
I've been yearning to have a consult with Dr Klein before I embarked on LFRV....but I was SO miserable on the ACD, that I jumped right in to the diet nearly overnight, with guidance from my chiropractor and the books I've read on the subject. You can read about my transition from my older posts in order to get a clearer idea.
After much fumbling, stress, over-buying produce, not knowing what/how/when/how much to eat, spending way too much researching, and basically feeling lost in this whole process, I still experienced amazing health transformations, but there were many key areas that I felt were getting worse, not better: mainly, my GI issues. The advice I had been getting was to "eat more! stretch out the stomach! drink at least 3 liters of water! eat mostly bananas! add greens to the smoothies! don't add greens at all! eat greens only at night! eat 2-3 big meals! eat small/frequent meals! do banana island! date island! water fruit island! get 3000+ calories! poop 3x per day! sleep 10+ hours! eat, eat, eat, eat!!!!!!....." It got to be overwhelming, and I felt like my particular situation needed to be looked at by an expert, someone who has dealt with fragile tummies, dysbiosis, GERD, gastroparesis, nerve dysfunction, and all the other health ills that have made doctors puzzled, afraid to treat me, stuffing me with supplements and detrimental advice, and often giving me a grave prognosis.
Thus, I made the leap to consult with Dr. Klein.
I spent a couple days typing up way too much information to send him. I wanted to be sure he knew everything that plagued me, as well as labs, and an extensive health history from birth to now, for in my desperation for health, I wanted to leave no stone unturned.
I was incredibly nervous the day of the consult. For one, he was like a celebrity to me... I mean, for goodness sake, the man had written books, magazines, has several websites.....to me, that's akin to meeting Elvis. Secondly, I was intimidated by his intelligence....but I guess that a good thing, for more often than not, it seemed like I had more knowledge on diet and digestive issues than the majority (if not all) of the doctors and so-called "experts" I've seen over the years --- combined! Thirdly, I was afraid his advice and healing plan would be very vague, and that he would just refer me to his book, without giving me any personalized diet plan. Fourthly, I was afraid his advice wouldn't differ much from what I was currently already doing, or that he would tell me to eat more and stretch my stomach out as much as I can (a la 30BaD). And lastly, I was terrified that he would deem me too complicated or too "far gone" to be able to offer much hope, thus leaving me to believe that my health issues were chronic, that they wouldn't get much better, and that it would be something I would just have to suck up and live with. I was relieved that the consult would be in my therapist's (Gerri's) office, for the moral support was much needed.
Luckily, all my fears were quickly debunked within seconds of the consultation. His kind, confident tone dissolved any lingering doubts and anxieties almost instantly, and the fact that he came to the appointment prepared and ready to help me heal gave me great hope.
His plan, in a nutshell (or, more appropriately, banana peel!) includes these main areas:
1. Diet focusing on juices, especially vegetable juices
2. Body awareness
3. Healing the mind
A. The Healing Diet
*Consuming a diet rich in juices helps to rest the gut from the burdens of digestion, while providing the body with the most easily assimilated form of nutrients. By eating a low-fiber diet, there is less risk for colon irritation. The high water content helps to flush out toxins. The small but frequent meals place less stress on an overwhelmed body, for big meals are very taxing for a fragile body to handle. It takes a lot of energy to digest big meals, and a damaged body needs as much energy as possible for repair. He said that the advice of stretching out the stomach and eating 3000+ cals is extremely detrimental and can be dangerous for someone with GI problems.
*This diet will help heal the gastroparesis and inflammation, as well as help heal the swollen pyloric valve which has been a key factor in my GERD. By eating simply and avoiding all irritants and stimulants (like spices, citrus, fatty foods, and salts, which were key players in my previous diet), my gut can start to repair easier.
*He wants me to eat more simply in the morning due to the cramps and mucus-flatus that occur as the day progresses
*The goals are to re-establish effective peristalsis and decrease inflammation. The mucus is my body's way of protecting the gut from the infections and inflammation. The dysbiosis should correct by getting the bowels moving and eating a simple, healing diet that is low in fat. By healing these issues, I should experience more normal and efficient BMs (2-3x per day), cleaning out of the gut, the end to gastroparesis, no more mucus-flatus (which should heal up in 2 weeks or so!), normal flora balance (buh-bye infections!), extinction of cramps/gas/bloat, no more food intolerances/sensitivities (yay bananas!), becoming more and more tolerant of larger volumes of food, steady/natural weight and muscle gain.....basically, having a gut that isn't acting like a cesspool of sludge and filth!
B. Body Awareness
*I have become completely numb to my body's cues and signals. I feel like my body is a foreign entity of which I have no control. Like it is the evil red-headed step-child that makes the lives of the rest of the family a living hell. Or, like my body is a foreign country where the language is beyond my comprehension. I have lost all intuitiveness, all comprehension of its communication, all abilities to decipher its signals. The mere fact that I am even talking about my body as a separate unit speaks volumes in and of itself!
*Thus, the goal is to increase awareness of what my body is attempting to convey: hunger, fullness, sleepiness, physical exhaustion, energy, the need to defecate/urinate/eat/sleep/stop eating/exercise/rest/etc..... you know, the things babies have no problem with, yet of which I am completely unaware.
*He wants me to "get out of my mind and tune into the body's feedback and senses." To do this, I must still my mind, be present, observe my thoughts and disengage in order to get into the body. It is imperative to let go of the scripts/false beliefs and messages. It is only the present---the here and now---that counts. The past cannot be changed. What happened, has already happened---they are just thoughts, words, memories....nothing that can be changed. It is vital to lose the attachments and mental baggage...stop the blame, let go, be present. He said to check out the book End Your Story, Gain your Life
*Meditation (be still, present, check in with the body and feel the body's messages)
*Find a spiritual teaching that resonates with me (http://selfawareness.com/, http://vibrancemagazine.com/, Spirituality Center, youtube videos, http://breathing.com/).
*Eat slowly, BREATHE, don't eat when upset. Mindful eating...smell the food, taste the food, enjoy the food!
*Yoga, Tai Chi/Qi Gong are also good ways to get in touch with the body-mind connection
*He liked that I have been seeing Gerri for therapy... he said to keep doing that. Gerri was thrilled with these body-mind suggestions, for her and I have been trying to work on these, but haven't been able to due to mitigating the other crises that have arose in the past year.
C. Healing the Mind
*This is pretty much described in B, which makes sense, since the two categories should not be separate for me anymore!
More detail on the Healing Diet:
*We will continuously tweak it, especially in the first two weeks. He does not want my weight to decrease, but he does want my body to detox. Focusing on rest, relaxation, eating simply, increasing body awareness, and healing the mind will assist this process to the fullest. The calories are quite low, but that is normal for detox, for too many calories are a burden. As time goes on, the calories will increase, but for the time being, the focus is on easily-assimilated, non-irritating, low-fat vegan, juices/smoothies with a small cooked meal in the evening. He wants me to eat according to my senses (hypoglycemic? Eat! Not hungry? Don't eat! Upset? Don't Eat! Thirsty? Drink!).
-Eat every 2-3 hours (or sooner, if hypoglycemic or hungry)
-Space at least 1 hour after the fruit/veg juice for the smoothie. If having a second smoothie, there only needs to be 1-2 hours between smoothies.
-Wait at least 2 hours after smoothie to have the veg juice
-It is vital to consume at least 2 veg juices for the minerals
-Can have the steamed meal 30min after the last veg juice
-If increased acid reflux, decrease the amount of fruit
-Have no more than the equivalent of 2 bananas a day. Too fibrous and sugary for me to handle right now
Upon awakening: 1 glass water, light exercise if tolerated
1. apple (or pear, grape, watermelon) + celery + lettuce juice (5-6 oz at a serving)
2. more fruit/veg juice (and may repeat one more time)
3. Smoothie (8oz or so) of some of the above juice with either 1 banana and 2-4 dates, 2 bananas, 1 persimmon without the skin, or papaya
4. Carrot + celery + lettuce juice (6-8oz)
5. Repeat the veg juice
6. Lightly steamed meal of sweet potato/squashes/carrots/celery (1-2c serving...this can be whole food or pureed into a soup by adding celery juice)
-No supplements. Vit D has been shown to be toxic. It is better to tan 1-2 times per week (YES!)
-B12 injections are not needed, for my levels seemed ok.
-Warm baths are helpful
-It is vital to stay warm
-Squat when having a BM...place something under my feet to raise the knees 6-10inches
-Get my blood testes (CMP, CBC, iron) every few weeks
-Eat small portions
-No weight lifting, but yoga, qigong, walking, body weight exercises are ok. But, focus on rest and sleep and relaxtion!!!!!
-Drink to thirst, not to some random recommended level
-Celery and lettuce is very healing and full of minerals
-Less sugar is required right now...too much will not help with my dysbiosis
-Red grapes are high in iron
-EAT ONLY ORGANIC. I am too toxic and fragile right now to be able to handle the toxins in conventionally-grown produce. He does not want me to increase my toxic load and body burden by risking ingestion of pesticides and chemicals. (Anyone need extra bananas?)
-If I feel really awful, I'm detoxing too fast.
-Bowels should move 3+ times per day (yay!)
-We will stay in close contact for the 1st 2 weeks as my body is detoxing as adjust as needed. I may need to stay on this mostly-juice diet for longer than 2 weeks, but we'll take it one step at a time
I am feeling very hopeful, as is Gerri. I'm thrilled my treatment team has finally come together so perfectly (it's about darn time, after years of trying to piece it together!), with Dr Meade (my awesome vegan chiropractor), Gerri (my amazing therapist who has seen me through an incredibly horrendous year), and now, Dr Klein. [And I can't forget to mention my awesome LFRV friend/mentor, Kimberly! Without her, I'd be one lost, scared, confused, lonely gal. She's spent so much time helping and supporting me... I've never met anyone so kind, empathetic, self-less, and overall pure and good than she is!].
Persistence....it DOES pay off. The key is to never lose hope or motivation, no matter how discouraged u might become! =)